Atlantic Beach

Pampas Grass on the dunes

Atlantic Beach is a small town of 1,781 people (as of 2000) located in the Crystal Coast region North Carolina. A popular seaside vacation town since the 1920s, Atlantic Beach is on Bogue Banks, part of the southern Outer Banks chain of barrier islands, between Bogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The nearby communities of Pine Knoll Shores and Salter Path are often considered to be part of Atlantic Beach.

Get in

The most direct way to reach Atlantic Beach, if you're coming from the direction of Raleigh, is down US-70 to Havelock. Atlantic Beach is on NC-58, which runs the length of Bogue Banks. It's only possible to cross to the island at two points: from Morehead City into Atlantic Beach on the eastern end, and from Cape Carteret to Emerald Isle on the western end. Both crossings are large bridges with pleasant scenic views.

Get around

The island of Bogue Banks is only 26 miles from one end to the other, but due to the reduced speed limit, you'll need about 45 minutes to travel the entire length. At some points, the island narrows to only a third of a mile wide, giving you excellent views of the ocean and the sound. Mile marker signposts are placed along Highway 58 every half-mile, and these are often used for giving directions.

There is no public transportation on the island, but you can hitch a lift with one of several reliable taxi companies.


Among the 38 innovative exhibits are re-created shipwrecks that showcase the diverse marine life attracted to these sunken vessels. The 306,000-gallon Living Shipwreck display in the Ocean Gallery features a three-quarter-size replica of a German U-boat that was sunk off Cape Lookout in World War II. The Queen Anne’s Revenge duplicates the 18th century artifacts in Beaufort Inlet thought to be the wreckage of the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship. Visitors also get a view of a pair of playful river otters, a roaring mountain waterfall, a sea turtle rehabilitation area, and a jellyfish gallery. Touch pools allow personal contact with stingrays, hermit crabs, whelks and other creatures. The Aquarium offers an array of activities and field trips, and has facilities for weddings, celebrations and meetings. Visitors also will find a large gift shop and a snack bar.


  • Outer Banks Sail and Kayak, 612 Atlantic Beach Causeway, +1 252-247-6300, . M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 1PM-6PM. Daily sailing and kayak rentals, group and private instruction, sunset sails and dinner cruises. Sailing classes are $60 - $90; ocean cruises are $45 - $75; hourly rentals are $10 - $15 for kayaks and $30 - $40 for sailboats.
  • Oceanana, 700 E Fort Macon Road, +1 252-726-0863, . Fishing pier attached to the Oceanana Family Resort.


Beach shops are abundant, if you're desperately in need of a surfboard / beach towel / flip-flops / sunglasses / lucite dolphin sculpture. Two of the more prominent ones are listed below, but you'll see plenty of others in the nearby vicinity:

Otherwise, you mostly have the traditional beach gifts: seashells, things carved out of seashells, things made from seashells, things made from driftwood, salt-water taffy and nautical-themed items. A lot of it is tacky and cheap; some of it is really nice quality.

A couple of specialty shops that might come in handy for your seaside vacation needs:



If you want to mix your own drinks, there's an ABC store at 101 Cedar Lane, +1 252-726-3221, open M-Sa. Otherwise, you can check out one of the local nightspots:


As with many coastal areas, visitors can choose between cheap motel or upscale hotel rooms rented by the night, or a beach cottage by the week. Prices are highly variable, usually running between $60 - $150 per night; prices naturally go up with the quality of the lodging establishment and, in particular, proximity to the beach.



Go next

The Crystal Coast area has a variety of other areas to visit:

Further afield, there are some interesting destinations for daytrips:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 20, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.